Category Archives: Divorce

iPhone Hangups

Does your child have a phone? Are there rules? Time limits? Text spot checks?

I once wrote about how different it is today than twenty or thirty years ago when there was ONE family phone in the hallway. If someone called you, first and foremost you never knew who was going to answer it. Could be a sibling, mom or worst of all, DAD. It was tethered to the wall so any thought of privacy was completely out of the realm of reality. And you typically had a time limit of anything under thirty minutes.

Flash forward to 2015. Kids have their own phone. In their room. With the door closed. Are texting friends all day long. Can access God knows what on-line. And are completely unmonitored. digitaladdict

Are you OK with that? Is your mind set that of “It’s just a different generation.”

Well. It’s not about a different generation. It’s about respecting technology. It’s about respecting rules. It’s about mom and dad defining structure and limits. It’s about your impressionable, naive, child not having carte blanche when it comes to access to the world. It’s about parents monitoring their child’s behavior and looking for teaching moments. It’s about establishing healthy habits and remembering that the phone is a privilege not a right.

If you do a quick spot check of your kid’s texts you’ll likely be shocked at their approach to relationships, people, current events, music, and their use of language. It will demonstrate to you how much they have to learn and why it’s important that you are guiding them rather than leaving them to figure it out for themselves. It’s not about “eves dropping, being big brother or invading privacy.” This is about teaching, mentoring and guiding.

My ex-wife and I are instituting an “all phones on the counter” at 7:30 pm with hourly limits on weekends. In my house, this includes me, although I do have a little more access since I use my phone for business. In the first two days it’s already made a difference and I anticipate more. What I’ve initially seen of youth is that they’re obsessive. Phones can be remarkably useful, helpful and a great means of staying connected. They can also addictive and a lousy baby sitter. I personally believe that at some point there need to be rules and regulations established by those in charge of the house. Hopefully, that’s you.

Do you have rules for phone use in your house? Would love to hear what you’re doing.

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Posted by on April 29, 2015 in Divorce, Talking To Kids


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Bad Things Happen

There’s nothing like a minor fender bender to remind us that in an instant, bad things can happen. We’re going about our merry way, and then at the most inconvenient times, we’re forced to stop our lives and deal with something completely unexpected. In some cases it can be life altering.

My family has experienced several of these events of late, some of which have caused their fare share of stress. My mother, who’s 87, took a bad spill and injured her neck. The event will alter the very existence of both my parents as both she and my father (92) will have to face the reality that they are unable to fully and properly take care of themselves without risk of further injury.caution

Each of these events are stark reminders that our lives are not immune from negatives. Some greater than others. Some of these events force us to adjust our daily lives often without our consent. We are reminded time and time again how little control we actually have at times and when faced with these issues it can be a remarkably difficult pill to swallow.

Watching my father have his very existence altered to the point of losing control of just about every aspect of his daily life is difficult to watch. He was an entrepreneur, accustomed to being the man in charge. The past several years, bit by bit, he’s come face to face with mother nature who has taken a little more of his control away each year. As difficult as that’s been to witness, watching how he handles it at times can be even more difficult. Watching him fight it tooth and nail, has at times only made it more stressful. It’s understandable, but the more we fight change, quite often we deprive ourselves of potential happiness, dwelling on the negatives we’ve been faced with.

Which brings me to the point of this particular post: acceptance. We can fight these events and live in denial. We can do everything in our power to ignore them or attempt to erase them. But as difficult as it is, sometimes the best thing we can do is accept them and do our best to adjust accordingly.

Divorce very likely caught you by surprise. In the instant that the word divorced came to define your future, everything changed. You most likely fought it and may very well still be fighting it. We can allow our anger to dictate how we move forward. As with my fender bender, I was pretty shaken. It took a while for me to get my whits about me again. And even then, reflecting on it is difficult at times as I attempt to go back in my head and change to course of those few seconds. But I can’t change them. They are now a part of my history as is my divorce. Unlike my Jeep, I can’t replace the dinged up parts of my marriage. I simply have to lick my wounds and let them heal as best they can. Basically, I can either accept this reality and make the best of it or I can attempt to prove something by fighting it.

But honestly, if I’ve learned anything these past few years, it’s that there is an art to moving forward. And frankly, standing your ground leaves you doing just that. Standing without making any forward progress.

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Posted by on April 12, 2015 in Divorce


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Divorced Dad Saving Tip

As a single divorced dad, you’re most likely always looking for ways to shave the budget. Looking for better internet deals; cable vs streaming; phone service etc. Well here’s a tip I learned while refinancing my home.

If you own your home and do taxes and insurance through escrow you may want to take a look at your current hazard insurance policy. Insurance companies will sometimes raise your rates knowing you likely aren’t paying attention as everything is done routinely through thebuying-a-home-in-san-diego-tips-for-hazard-insurance escrow. You may even wonder why your mortgage went up $20 or $30 dollars last year. Chances are either your area went through a property tax reassessment OR your insurance company raised the premium on your hazard insurance.

After four years, my premium had gone up $500/annually. I hadn’t even considered this until my mortgage broker made me aware of it when I was looking at refinancing. And sure enough. After some research I found the exact same policy for $600 a year less with a reputable insurance company, saving me $50 a month on my mortgage. I was also looking at new car insurance and was able to get an additional savings by switching and having both policies through the same company.

Sometimes it pays to scrutinize and ask questions. Once you start taking a closer look at where your money is going, you’ll be amazed at how easy it can be to save $25 here or $30 there. And that adds up fast!

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Posted by on March 29, 2015 in budgets, Divorce


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Changing The Perceptions of Divorced Dad

Last week I wrote about the perceptions of divorced parents and in particular divorced dads and how they’re viewed or judged on a daily basis. As I read the e-mails and comments from readers I started reflecting on the overall view of divorced dads and fathers in general. We’ve all watched commercials on television that depict mom as the hero of the household and dad as the buffoon who doesn’t know dishwashing detergent from laundry soap. We see stories about deadbeat dads on the news and read about infidelity that leads to separation and divorce. It all makes it that much harder for the dads that are there for their kids 24/7 as a positive influence.

Just as a few rotten eggs in the NFL get all of the attention and grab all of the headlines making it difficult for the rest of the players in the league, the abusive husbands and fathers that the media loves to exploit in their attempt to garner advertising dollars, make it nearly impossible for the growing percentage of dads who are not only involved, but carry an ever increasing percentage of weight in the rearing2015-01-31 19.19.40-2 of their children.

So as I read the input I couldn’t help but ask myself, “so what can we do to change the perception of dads both married and single?”

First and foremost I think the number one thing we can do is to continue to step up our game. We can put down the iPhone and help with homework, we can ensure we sit down together at the dinner table, we can coach a soccer team, we can continue to put the needs of our kids first and be involved. We can spot check their texts and hold them accountable for their actions. We can make an effort to listen without judgement. We can remind them over and over again how much we love them and how much we love being their dad. We can do all of these things; consistently and with vigor.

What we need is a to establish a growing portion of the population that grows up with an appreciation for what their fathers did for them when the odds were stacked against them. Sure it would be nice to see more advertising targeting single dads or programs that depict the divorced father in a positive light. But it all starts with us. It all starts with our efforts to provide our children with a foundation of love and support. Of understanding and unconditional love. Of creating a safe home where calm resolve and respect out duals adversity and anger.

Over time, as more and more positive examples of dads are seen by society. As more and more kids grow up with a dad who was there for every recital, who taught them their first guitar chord, who threw a thousand pop flies, showed them how to change a tire, but also made a thousand school lunches, taught them how to find a bargain, live smart, respect people, and do laundry, as more young adults grow up experiencing this dad, there will be a greater chance that we’ll be able to change things for the single dads that will follow,

But don’t do it for the future fathers of generations to come. Do it for your kids. Do it for yourself. Do it for your family. Do it because what’s most important is what your kids think of you and what they’ll remember you for. Do it because you want your grandchildren to have the best mom or dad possible and your daughter-in-law or son-in-law to have the best spouse possible. And that all starts today with the dad you are to your kids. It all starts with the perceptions you create.

Let your kids be the spokespeople for the next generation. Let them create the TV shows about the awesome divorced dad. Or write the commercials targeting dads who shop for Tide. Let your actions today, help change the perceptions of dads for generations to come.

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Posted by on March 10, 2015 in dads, Divorce, Talking To Kids


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How We View The Divorced Parent

How many of you have seen a divorced parent and immediately proceeded to create an opinion about them based solely on the fact that you knew they were divorced. Maybe you went so far as to make assumptions about why they were divorced or how they messed things up.

Well, being divorced isn’t unlike being a parent. Unless you’ve experienced it, you simply have no clue of any aspect of it. None. It is not uncommon for those without kids to be quick to let us know how to raise our children or point out what we’re doing wrong. They’ve read all of the articles and seem to know what’s best for our kids and what they “need.” With divorce it’s probably not quite as harsh, but everyone is quick to let us know how we should handle our ex, what’s best for our kids, why we should do this or not do that etc. They tell us how much better off we are, that we need to get back on the saddle and that they wish they had our freedom.

But unless you’ve lived it and ARE living it, you have …  no … idea. It can be a constant battle to stay positive; to hold your tongue; to be599800_10152015305377908_614640456_n supportive; to put the kids first; to not over react; to not be resentful; to not blame; to not crash and burn. It can take all of your energy and then some. And unless you’re in the trenches immersed in the negative thoughts that are continually fighting their way through the positives, it’s impossible to truly understand what a unique experience it is and how challenging it can be.

If you see someone who’s divorced, man or woman, know that they’re doing their best with the hand they’ve been dealt; even if they were the one who dealt it in the first place. Chances are they themselves had no idea what they were getting into or what it would be like despite their best intentions. Regardless, divorced people have experienced a pain like no other. Some self inflicted and some completely undeserved. It is not an easy road. And all you can do is keep moving. For to stop is death. If you don’t keep your mind busy, it will sink into a muck of self torture. If you don’t keep your body busy, it will not only cause your muscles to fail you, but your mind as well.

If you see a divorced dad, and you see him loving his kids, getting groceries, coaching a basketball game, or even just sitting having a cup of coffee; take a moment to recognize that he is changing the definition of a dad. He is involved. He is trying and quite possibly even more involved now as a divorced dad than he was as a married one. Believe it or not, dads can multi-task, cook, clean, dress their kids and coddle them when they’re sick. We can organize a birthday party and get them where they need to be on time. We check home work and actually want to be on the school’s e-mail list. But for some reason, too often, assumptions are made and divorced dads are seen as the weekend babysitter. As someone with 50/50 custody I can assure you that’s not always the case any more. The landscape is changing.

So whatever you do, don’t judge him. I promise you, divorced parents are pretty good at doing plenty of that to themselves; virtually all day. I get it. Not all dads, divorced or otherwise are gems. But we don’t all personify the stereotype of the cheating deadbeat. We hate that we ended up here and work hard not to focus on the fact that this isn’t what we planned. There are plenty of aspects about divorce that we disdain. But they come with the territory and all you can do is carry on and attempt to do better.

So please. If you have a friend who’s a divorced parent; know that there’s a lot going on under the surface. Probably not unlike your own life, but a lot more intense as there’s likely an additional layer of guilt spread over it. But aside from the occasional jerk, which let’s face it exist both in divorce and marriage, there are more and more divorced dads doing the best they can and they’re doing everything in their power to make it better for themselves and their children. There are indeed a growing number of them who are stepping up their game and doing their part to change the way single dads are viewed.


Posted by on February 26, 2015 in Divorce


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